Sign Substrates

A “substrate” in sign-making refers to the physical material the sign is made of. Choice of substrate is usually determined by the purpose of the sign and generally involves how long the sign needs to last.

Substrate materials range in size, weight and thickness, which all affect the overall cost.
The substrates we use are:
Corrugated Plastic
Aluminum w/ PVC core
PVC Sheets
Sign Foam

Corrugated Plastic Sign substrate

Corrugated Plastic

Corrugated plastic is used mostly for temporary signs, the ones you see for election signs, yard sales, contractors signs, real estate signs and site signs for new construction projects. They come with wire stakes for easy installation (in soft ground)
corrugated sign sample


magnetic substrate
Car-safe magnetic material used for removable lettering on vehicles.

Aluminum Composite

aluminum substrate for signs

Aluminum composite material, also known as Alumilite and Dibond, is made of thin layers of aluminum with a PVC core. Available in different thicknesses, it is light-weight and ideal for mid to long term outdoor signs. Advantages over wood, besides the weight, are that it’s not prone to warping and not affected by moisture.

PVC Sheets

PVC substrates
PVC Substrates are a versatile, lightweight and durable material option for creating all types of signs and displays. The material has a smooth, uniform surface and comes in a variety of colors.
PVC substrate

Sign Foam

Sign Foam is available in different densities and thicknesses and is used for dimensional sign-making. We use it for carved signs and for three dimensional additions to wood signs. It is light-weight and durable.
Zi Photography sign


We use various kinds of wood, depending on the purpose of the sign.

MDO is an exterior grade plywood with a smooth, moisture-proof surface that takes paint very well.

Many of the signs we make use MDO. Click here for examples

Red Cedar and Pine are also used for some of our signs.